Topics: Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton, Marriage Pages: 4 (1290 words) Published: April 21, 2013
March 27, 2013
Ethan Frome is set in turn-of-the-century New England in the fictitious town of Starkfield, Massachusetts. A time when women were still dependent on men and the goal of attainment for men was survival. Survival meant whether that goal was achieved through the male as the designated bread winner or as a female via the means of securing a proper marriage. In the story of Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, the theme involved the challenges of the conflict between passion and social convention, and the constricting effects that a harsh winter climate can have on the human spirit, it takes place in the cold, bleak winter farmlands of Massachusetts. Ethan Frome, a poor farmer, has a hard life tending to his land, trying to make a meager living, and taking care of his ungrateful, demanding, sickly wife, Zeena. The theme of this story almost seems to conspire to make Ethan a passive, unhappy victim of circumstance, weighed down by his duty to his wife, his bitter existence as a poor farmer, and the strain that Starkfield’s frozen landscape places on his soul. Edith wharton portrays the theme of failure in Ethan Frome throuh the main character's inability to escape moral and social struggles

Ethan Frome is a grizzled old man with a tortured expression on his face. Ethan is a sensitive character with a deep appreciation for nature, and who is drawn to the beauty of Mattie Silver, his wife’s younger cousin. Though Ethan would rather leave Starkfield, poverty and the responsibility to care for his wife force him to stay. He is physically isolated from the world at large and is also cut off from the possibility of any human fellowship that life in a village might afford.Towards the end of the novel, Ethan becomes overwhelmed and decides to try suicide instead of face the consequences of any other decisions he has made. He survives and spends the next 24 years caring for Mattie and Zeena. His entire life becomes a series of dreams destroyed by...
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